Donkey-Powered Energy Solutions from the 3rd Annual Microfinance East Event

Seated at the venerable NYC Harmonie Club, not unlike taking an SAT test, the speakers shared sophisticated analysis, concerns and encouraging words, as well.  It was a nicely diverse crowd.  As an elder, I was happy to see many hoary heads, along with young MF mover-and-shakers.  The gender balance is better than in most industries, with lots of mature women in leadership roles, but older guys are there too.  Diversity and accents are prevalent, reminding us of the global reach of microfinance.

 Many of the presentations were technical and specific, a little harder to blog about than the more anecdotal tidbits.  Clean energy and global warming came up many times - not as many mentions as THE FINANCIAL SITUTATION - but it's on people's minds, and of course it's what GreenMicrofinance does.

 Here is one of the more innovative clean energy solutions we've heard of.  You know the term horsepower?  Naturally it's a measurement that reflects four-legged sources of energy.  Substitute "donkey power" and you have this: The HAPPY - "human and animal powered" vehicles.  The donkeys trudge around the village, producing enough energy to charge a solar panel which in turn charges small appliances, especially cellphones.  By the time the donkey and cart return to your house, they deliver a charged phone, and provide transport, too, one presumes.

People can't afford four bars of cellphone power, nor obviously can they afford a solar charger of their own. But they can cover the cost of a little electricity for their cellphone needs.  So here is a solution which fertilizes the neighborhood and helps people up the green ladder out of energy poverty.